A charitable organization needs marketing as much as promoting any for-profit business. The approach is more or less the same. If done professionally, there could be added costs. If one is starting a new charity, then the marketing part may look daunting.
If you already have a charity and its marketing efforts consist of holding annual events and periodically updating its websites, it is not enough. The charity loses out on many other opportunities to raise funds and volunteers. This is a logical step for charities: Team Rubicon, which helps with worldwide disaster and humanitarian crisis relief, has a “fuel the mission” button on the landing page of the website just above data about the latest efforts under “See Our Response”.
Why does a charity need marketing?
Consistent marketing is essential for the growth of the charity. It is not complicated to learn the finer aspects of marketing a charity. One can take simple actions to their target audience, educate the public, increase overall awareness of the charity activities, and increase support for the mission.
Even the best of charities cannot do much if the people do not know about them. The charity needs to have a strong relationship with its volunteers, donors, and media to carry out its functions effectively and pursue its mission.
Marketing the charity ensures
- Spreading the vision and mission statement of the charity.
- Getting new donors and revenues to sustain operations.
- Showing existing donors its current priorities and projects.
- Developing a relationship with other organizations and government agencies.
- Creating branding and awareness through media.
- Alerting people about events and finding a larger audience.
How to market a charity?
The nature of charities is that their efforts are ongoing, so they must always be seeking the resources to allow for them to make a difference. The activities then also need to be highlighted consistently to ensure regular donations. Even if a charity does not have a dedicated marketing team or cannot afford one, it is possible to carry out marketing with the help of existing staff.
- Research the target audience
Before reaching out to people on the digital platform, one must know a few things like
- a) Age and gender of the audience
- b) Which social media platform do they use?
- c) Which is the best channel to contact them?
- d) Which issues are of interest to them?
- e) What is the role you are looking at – volunteer, donor, or influencer?
Once this information about the audience is available, one can tailor the efforts accordingly. By developing a database of existing donors and potential ones, one can plan the communication strategy. Communication remains the key in convincing people to donate to a charity. Marketing initiatives can include emailing, follow-up emailing, event invitations, newsletters, and social media outreach. The audience in the database can be segmented on factors like income levels, the preferred mode of involvement with the charity, etc.
These strategies do not cost much and are effective.
- Marketing materials
One can easily make their marketing materials from online designing tools like brochures, flyers, email newsletters, infographics, posters, etc. social media posts. When sent to the recipients, these materials will help highlight accomplishments, upcoming events, activities, and information on how to donate or get involved.
- Social media strategy
Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook can be great social media platforms for reaching a remarkably large audience. Many will share and reshare to other platforms leading to interested people visiting the charity website for more information. This marketing approach is also cost-effective and enables the charity to gain more exposure. Another advantage is that there are no physical boundaries here, and people from across the globe can come online and donate to the cause. Charitable organizations like the American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, The Nature Conservancy, and WE Charity do well at sharing information across platforms.
If the charity is new, then one must create a website. If there is already an existing charity with a website, one needs to keep updating it regularly. The Google algorithm then ensures that it attracts traffic to its website.
An essential part of this approach is that the website should be professional-looking. Having a professional website is necessary for the brand image of the charity. Even if one does not have a brand strategy, they still have a brand. And a strong web presence will strengthen the organizational image, and people will look up to it as a legitimate source of services.
The website should have the following information:
- The organization history, its vision, and mission
- News sections including press coverage of its activities
- Upcoming initiatives and events
- Success stories
- Presence in different locations
- How to volunteer or donate money
The website should be SEO and mobile-friendly. Improving its SEO marketing strategy will make it easier for people to find the charity online. The content, blogs with appropriate keywords will ensure that the website is high on google search ranking. The more targeted traffic generated to the website, the better it is. Sharing website content to the charity’s social media platforms also helps in developing a new audience. An active website that is updated regularly means that the organization is not dormant, and people can see the recent activities online. All these marketing efforts go a long way to get the desired traction and results.
- Showcase the results
The marketing of the charity should show the results achieved from its various activities. These can be shared on the charity website and also on its different social media platforms. Success stories can also be shared on social media, and get a digital news portal to cover the organizational activities and events. Also, emailing donors digital press releases, updating the events calendar on the website, calling guest contributors, etc. The charity should provide the key statistics of the projects completed since inception, the number of funds raised through events, and direct donations, and so on.
Online marketing efforts should have measurable goals. It will help to evaluate which online channel efforts are giving results. It is significant to have an annual target of how much donations are required to fund the charities on a break-even basis. How many new volunteers are needed for the planned projects? New membership drives, new initiatives, etc. The online campaign can be done in partnership with other organizations where there is a synergy available. The final takeaway- Simple strategies help.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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